PAHOKEE — Ashley Roberson placed first at 154 pounds at the girls weight lifting regional meet at Sebring High School.
Roberson won the regional title and now moves onto Belleview to compete in the FHSAA girls weightlifting state championships on Feb. 2-3.
“I’m excited. It is my first year going to the finals. I tried out last year but it interfered with basketball and I decided to do basketball.”
Roberson said she is glad that she gave her full effort to weight lifting this year. She also runs cross country and also plays for the school track team in the spring.
“It is kind of shocking to make state. The coach has really pushed me and I thank him for that.”
Roberson said she never really pushed herself to this level and as a senior, and is glad she was able to reach her goal. She said she isn’t sure how she’ll respond at the state finals.
“I don’t really know what to expect. I’m nervous but I’ll be pushing toward the state title.”
Her best lift this year was 265 pounds.
Coach John Ford said Roberson has done an outstanding job in other sports so he was not surprised when she excelled at weight lifting.
“We use weight lifting to help them out with other sports. I’m happy for the way it turned out for Ashley.”
Antwanique Kinsler finished in third place in the 101 pound weight class. The junior barely missed qualifying for the state finals for the second year in a row. Rather than hold her head down, she said the near misses have only inspired her to work harder.
“It happened for a reason. I’ll just work hard for next year. I’m really proud of Ashley though, she worked really hard,” she added.
Coach Ford said the girls start weight lifting around Dec. 1 and work hard at it for about two months.
They work on bench press and the bar bells. They work on the upper body muscles and even do running and agility drills three times per week. He said in his time as coach the school has had five or six girls go to the state tournament.
“It is a privilege to be able to work with these types of athletes and young ladies,” he noted.
Roberson said she will give her best at the state tournament and let people know that Pahokee is in the building, “Our motto is what really pushes me. We don’t ask for respect, we demand respect.”
Clyana Ward placed seventh in the 110 pound weight class at the regional meet at Sebring High School on Jan. 21.